Tough season for Atlanta continues
The losses are quickly accumulating for the Braves as this week not only featured a road series loss. It featured the loss of a beloved announcer. On Sunday Skip Carey laid down to take a nap, and never woke up. Skip was elected into the Braves’ Hall of Fame in 2003. He was a Georgia Sports Announcer of the year 6 times. His memorable calls included Randy Johnson’s perfect game and the final out of the 1995 Atlanta Braves’ World Series win. He will be missed not only by Braves fans, but also by baseball fans.
On Monday the Braves had to begin a 3 game series against the Giants in San Francisco. Jair Jurrjens put in a quality start for the Braves as he pitched 6 innings while allowing 3 runs on 9 hits. Matt Cain was able to shut down the Atlanta offense over 6 and 2/3 innings. He gave up only 1 run on 5 hits. With strong pitching performances, the Giants defeated the Braves 4-2.
Game 2 on Tuesday had Mike Hampton try for his first win in over 3 years. He was successful, as the offense would explode to back him. Hampton had his best start of the season going 7 innings while allowing 2 runs. Casey Kotchman continues to struggle since arriving in Atlanta from the Angels. He had 1 hit in 5 at bats and has seen his batting average drop 5 points since the trade. Despite his struggles, the Giants could not overcome a 7 run lead in the 9th inning and would lose 11-4.
Atlanta would send Chuck James to the mound in the series finale. James gave up 3 runs in just 4 innings before being pulled. The bullpen was great by not allowing a run. However, the bats would not wake up and could only score 2 runs to back the strong pitching. Casey Kotchman’s struggling once again continued as he went hitless in 3 at bats. He saw his average drop another 2 points to .278. Brian McCann was all of the Atlanta offense accounting for 3 of their 5 hits. Giants’ starter Tim Lincecum was fantastic as usual. He pitched 8 strong innings of 2 run ball. He struck out 8 batters while allowing only 5 hits. The Giants had just enough offense winning 2-3 to back Lincecum’s strong outing.
Tom Glavine is progressing very well. He could return to the rotation very soon. He is scheduled to make another rehab appearance and could return after that. This would provide a much needed boost to a broken pitching staff. Even with Glavine’s return the biggest injury news is Mike Hampton. He has managed to stay healthy and not get hurt. Most Braves fans had given up on him completely. Even with his strong return, it is extremely unlikely he will be in a Braves uniform next year. They would like to dump his salary and add an ace type pitcher to the staff.
Next up for the Braves is a plane flight to Arizona. They will take on the Diamondbacks in a 4 game series. Game 1 will is set for Charlie Morton (2-5) to take on Yusmeiro Petit (1-2). Morton is coming off a tough loss in which he pitched very well. His confidence boost will hopefully carry over to his next start. Jorge Campillo (6-4) and Doug Davis (4-6) will start game 2. Game 3 is the best pitching match up of the series. Jair Jurrjens (10-7) will duel with Dan Haren (12-5). Jurrjens will continue his Rookie of the Year bid with this start. The final game of the series has Mike Hampton (1-0) facing Brandon Webb (16-4). Webb has been fantastic again this year. He is bidding for another Cy Young Award this year. The series finale will be the toughest game for the Braves. Hopefully they can steal a road series and get their confidence back.
By Ben Burrows
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